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SAYC - OKbridge Version, Part 1

Originally developed as ACBL Standard American Yellow Card.
Expanded by Mark London
Further Simplified and Expanded by Wayne Flournoy
and Anna Marsh (OKbridge user-name: "ana")

Index Page
Overview 1
Standard SA-YC Conventions 2
General Approach 2
Responses and Later Bidding after 1NT Opening 3
2NT and 3NT Opening 5
1st Level Bidding/Responses/Rebids 6
Strong 2♣ Opener 8
Slam Bidding Conventions 9
Defensive Bidding 10
Balancing Seat Bids 12
Competitive Bidding 13
Leads and Signals 16
Default OKbridge SAYC CC 17

Part 1 describes the SA-YC bidding system as played on OKbridge. SA-YC is normally a "five-card majors"
bidding system, but players may exercise their own judgement to open a good four-card major in third seat.
A few sequences are defined in the later rounds of SA-YC auctions. Players are free to assign "forcing",
"invitational", or "non -forcing" meanings to natural calls in such sequences.
All artificial bids/conventions mentioned in Part 1 are standard SA-YC. A novice player may arrange with his
partner not to use some of the standard conventions, but the partnership must agree explicitly which
conventions are to be excluded. Suggested standard conventions for novices to specifically omit are
marked as "1-Star" ( * ).

Standard SAYC Conventions Page

Stayman 3
Jacoby Transfers to Majors! Jacoby Xfer to Minors! * 3/4
Jacoby 2NT! * 7
Strong 2♣ Opener 8
4th Suit Forcing! * 7
Blackwood 9
Quantitative 4NT 9
DOPI * 9
Control Showing Cuebids 10
Gerber * 10
Grand Slam Force! * 10
Pre-empt Weak 2/3 Bids 11
Responses to Opening Weak 2 11
Raise only Non -Forcing (R -O-N-F) 11
Unusual NT! * 11
Michael's Cuebid! * 12
Negative Doubles! 15
Redoubles 16

Note: Throughout this document, the required alerts, based on the ACBL alert chart, are identified with an
"exclamation mark" ( ! ) "HCP" is used for actual "high card points" – "Points" is used to include
distributional points. NF=Non-Forcing.

General Approach
1. Normally open five-card majors in a ll seats.

2. Open the higher of long suits of equal length: 5-5 or 6 -6.

3. Normally open 1♦ with 4-4 in the minors.

4. Normally open 1♣ with 3-3 in the minors.

5. No trump openings show a balanced hand but can be made with a five-card major or minor suit.

6. 1NT = 15 -17HCP

7. 2NT = 20 -21HCP

8. 3NT = 25 -27HCP {See also Part 2 Gambling 3NT}

9. Strong artificial 2♣ Opener = (22+ HCP)

10. Weak Two-bids in diamonds, hearts and spades. (5-11 Points, 6 card suit)

Responses And Later Bidding After 1NT Opening

A response of 2♣ after a 1NT opening by partner is Stayman. It shows 8+ HCP and at lease one 4 -
card major or an unbalanced, game-forcing hand with 5+ in a minor, with or without a side major.
Stayman is normally avoided with 4333 or 3433 shape, just raise to 2NT or 3 NT. Opener must rebid 2 ♦
(denying a 4 -card major), 2♥, or 2♠. If responder then rebids three of either minor, it shows
game/slam interest and at least 5 cards in the bid suit.
If responder has 5/4 or 4/5 in the majors he can rebid the longer major when the response is the
shorter major (or denial of a 4-card major ) to show 5: eg., 1N -2♣-2♠ -3♥(showing 5xhearts and
4xspades) or 1NT-2♣-2♦-2♥(showing 5xhearts and 4xspades)
Note 1: If opener has 4 -4 in majors, opener bids 2♥ first: if responder's suit is spades, he will rebid
2NT and opener can then bid his 4-card spade suit if he feels a suit contract is best. For example:
Opener Responder Shows
1NT 2♣
Opener has 4/4 majors, minimum/maximum NT opener
2♥ 2NT (NF)
3♠/4♠ Pass

Note 2: Stayman can also be used in cases where responder has fewer than 8 HCP and intends to
pass any response, i.e. if responder has 4-4-4-1 shape (the club being a singleton), any response can
be passed and hopefully improve the final contract. {see also Part 2 Minor Suit Stayman}

Jacoby Transfers to Majors ( ! )

Jacoby transfers (J xfrs) show a five+ card major suit:
2♦ is a transfer to 2 ♥
2♥ is a transfer to 2 ♠

Opener MUST accept the transfer although he can jump to the three level with 17 points and four-card
support for responder's major. Jacoby Transfers also apply when partner has made a strong natural
NT overcall at any level e.g., 1♣-1NT-P-2♦!-P-2♥.

Opener Responder Shows

1NT 2♦! Responder has 0-7HCP with 5+ hearts
2♥ Pass

1NT 2♦!
3♥ Opener has 17HCP and 4 hearts (invitational)

1NT 2♦!
2♥ Responder has 9+HCP (invitational to 3N or 4♥ )

1NT 2♦! Responder has 11+HCP, good side suit,

2♥ 3♣-♦ but may not be long (GF, poss slam interest)

1NT 2♦!
Responder has 10+HCP asks pref 3NT or 4♥
2♥ 3NT
11+HCP, 5-5 in the majors, invitational (NF). The sequence
1NT 2♦!
1NT-2♥!-2♠ -3♥ is 5- 5 spades/hearts, (GF), while 5- 4 and 4-5
2♥ 2♠ hands should use Stayman rather than a Jxfr

Note 1: Jacoby Transfers are also used over openers of 2/3NT openers

Note 2: Jacoby Transfers are "off" if the 1NT opening is overcalled.

Note 3: I have put alerts into the Jxfrs although the ACBL has taken them off the alertables –
if playing with beginners err on the cautious side and explain Jxfrs to opps

Jacoby Transfer to Minors (J4xf) ( ! ) *

Used if responder has a long minor , less than 8HCP, limited entry making a NT contract undesirable.
After a 1NT opener, a 2 ♠! response is a transfer to 3 ♣, which can be passed with clubs or responder
can rebid 3♦ if his suit is diamonds. J4xfer also on over opening 2N. Over opening of 3N, 4♠ is to play
unless J4xfer is on by partnership agreement.

Note: Jacoby Transfer to minors is "off" altogether i f the NT opening is overcalled or doubled

Other Responses to 1NT

Opener Responder Shows

8-9HCP usually denies 4-card major
but can be used on v balanced hand
3♣/3♦ 6-8Points, 6+ minor suit - limited entries (NF)
3♥/3♠ 6+card suit and slam interest (GF+)
1NT 6+card suit no slam interest
4♠ /4♥/5♦/5♣
and limited entries for NT (NF)
4♣ Gerber asking for Aces
4NT Quantative not Blackwood:
opener bids 6NT if max, Pass if min

Interference After 1NT Opening Bids

If Opponents Double Stayman and Jacoby Xfers are "on"

Opener Opp Responder Response Shows

2♣ Stayman
2♦/2♥ ! Xfer to 2♥/2♠

If Opponents Bid over 1NT Opener Stayman and Jacoby Xfers are "off". Bids are natural except for a
cuebid (ie. a bid of opp's suit), which can be used with game force strength as a substitute for Stayman

North East South Response Shows

South has 4/4 majors, opener bids 4 of a
2♣ /2♦ 3♣ /3♦ 4-card major or 3NT if no 4-card major or a pref for NT
1NT South has 4 of the unbid major,
2♥/2♠ 3♥/3♠ opener rebids 4 of the unbid major with 4
or 3NT without 4 of the required major or a pref for NT
If Jacoby Xfer is Doubled

Opener’s possible Calls Resonder’s possible Calls

1. Make natural bid
2. XX
3. Pass (to play)
XX (strong holding in dbled suit) 4. Bid 2 of a major (sign off)

Complete Xfer to show 3+ trumps

Pass or bid on
Jump to 3 of suit

If Jacoby Xfer is Overcalled

Opener’s possible Calls Resonder’s possible Calls

1. Make natural bid
Pass 2. X to show strength
3. Pass
X for penalty
Pass or bid on
Bid 3 of major with good supporting hand

If Stayman is Doubled

Opener’s possible Calls Resonder’s possible Calls

Pass with 4xclubs 1. Make any natural rebid
XX with 5xclubs or 4xgood clubs
Make any natural rebid 2. X for penalty

If Stayman is Overcalled

Opener’s possible Calls Resonder’s possible Calls

1. Make a natural rebid
X for penalty

Bid 4-card major at 2 level 2. X for penalty

Responses to 2NT and 3NT Openers

Stayman and Jacoby Xfers are "on". J4xfers are on over 2N openers not 3N openers unless by
partnership agreement.

North South Shows

3♣ Stayman
3♦/3♥! JXfer to 3♥/3♠
2NT 3♠ ! J4xfer to 4♣ and correct if ♦
4♣ Gerber
4NT Quantitative, invites 6NT if max
4♣ Stayman
4♦/4♥! JXfer to 4♥/4♠
4NT Blackwood (not Quantitative since 4♣ would
be used for Stayman)

Responses/Rebids to 1 of a Suit Opener

Responses to 1 of a major

Example R esponses to 1♥ Opener

North South Shows
1♠ min 6 Points, at least 4x♠. unlimited bid does not necessarily deny 3x♥
1NT 6-10HCP balanced hand. denies 4x♠ and (usually) 3x♥ (NF)

2♥ (a) 6 -10 Points + at least 3x♥ limit bid, can be passed

(b) Over opener of 1 ♠ would show 5x♥, 11+Points. unlimited bid
2♣/2♦ 11+Points and 4+card minor suit.
J2NT, 13+points, asks partner to show shor t suit while agreeing trump fit(GF+)
1♥ Note: If not playing J2N, responses of 2NT and 3NT are defined in SAYC as
standard, 13-15 and 16-17; however, many OKb players prefer 2NT=11 -12 and
3NT=13+, so you should agree 'forcing' or 'limit' 2NT response or else you'll have to
guess. If in doubt try to find a new suit bid and then bid 2N/3N
2♠/3♣/3♦ (Jump Shift) 17+Points (forcing+)
3♥ 10-12 Points + 3+ trumps. limit raise (invitational but non-forcing)
3NT 15-17HCP, balanced hand, at least 2x hearts (NF)
4♥ usually 5+ hearts, a singleton or void, and fewer than 10 HCP (NF)

Note: In an uncontested auction any new suit bid (where it is not preemptive) at the 3 level is 100%
forcing. This applies to both opener’s and responder’s calls. SAYC, in common with all versions of
Standard American, adheres to the new -suit forcing principle, ie., a new suit by responder is forcing for
1 round, unless reponder has previously passed or either player has bid notrump. Having said this, very
few 1st/2nd round bids in uncontested auctions are 100% forcing in SAYC – J2N, a jump shift, and a
new suit bid at the 3 level are forcing. If responder makes a 2 level first round bid then he usually
promises a rebid. See also Splinters in Part 2

Responses to 1 of a Minor Opener

A 1♦ opener suggests at least a 4 -card diamond suit, since 1♣ is preferred on hands where a 3 -card
minor suit must be opened. The exception is a hand with 4-4 -3-2 shape, which should be opened 1♦.
Responses and later bidding generally follow the same principles as "Responses to 1 of a Major".
Bidding at the one level is "up-the -line" in principle ie., bid next -ranking 4-card suit if no 5+-card suit to
bid. Bidding "up-the-line" does not constitute a "reverse bid"

Example Responses to 1♣ Opener

North East South West Shows
6+ Points, 4+diamonds, does not deny the majors or a club fit
1♦ (unlimited hand)
6+ Points, does not deny 4 diamonds /spades or a club fit (unlimited
1♣ Pass Pass
6+ Points, does not deny 4 hearts /diamonds or a club fit
1♠ (It is normal to respond 1♠ with 5/4 or 5/5 majors) (unlimited hand)
6-10 Points, denies 4 diamonds, 4 hearts , 4 spades
1NT and 5 clubs (limited hand, N F)

Note 1: Over a 1♣/1♦ opener, without a higher -ranking 4-card suit to show, responder needs 5 trumps
to raise 1♣, or 4 trumps to raise 1 ♦, (one less trump will do in a competitive sequence)
Note 2: Responses of 2NT/3NT are standard: (ie., responses of 2NT and 3NT are defined in SAYC as
standard, 13 -15 and 16-17; however, many OKb players prefer 2NT=11 -12 and 3NT=13+, so you

should agree 'forcing' or 'limit' 2NT response or else you'll have to guess. If in doubt try to find a new
suit bid and then bid 2N/3N)
Note 3:There is no forcing minor-suit raise. {See also Part 2 Splinters, Inverted Minors and Bergen

Opener's (non-artificial) Rebids

1. NT at cheapest possible level (NF)
2. rebid own suit at cheapest available level (NF)
3. raise partner's suit at cheapest available level (promises min 3+ trumps) (NF)
13-16HCP 4. bid "1 over 1" (eg.,1♦-P -1♥-P-1♠) (has a wider range of 13-18 points) (NF)
5. non-reverse bid in a new suit (has a wider range of 13 -18 points) (forcing if 3 level)
1. jump in own suit (invitational but not forcing)
2. Bid higher-ranking 4-card suit (this "up the line bid" has a wider range of 13-18
points)(NF)-If bid at the 2 level over a 1 level response, it is a reverse, 17-18
points, 1st suit longer than 2nd (NF): if bid at the 2 level over a 2 level response,
17+ (GF)
3. Bid a lower-ranking 4-card suit at the two level (also 13-18 points), NF over 1 level
response, forcing after 2 level response since responder promised a rebid
4. Jump in Partner's suit, invitational with 3+ trumps. (NF)
5. Bid in a new suit at the 3 level without jumping(15+points)(GF)
1. jump in NT (forcing)
19-22 2. double jump in partner's suit (strongly invitational if not game bid)
Points 3. double jump in own suit (strongly invitational if not game bid)
4. jump in new suit (forcing)

Note: After a rebid of 1NT by opener, a reverse or jump shift by responder is forcing possible slam
interest (eg.1♣-1♥-1NT-2♠/3 ♦).

General Comment: The above rebid structure is peculiar to the OKb version of SAYC and should not
be assumed when playing elsewhere. In particular, OKb suggests opener rebid the cheapest of his two
suits with any weak hand lacking 3 card support for responder's first suit; so after 1 ♦-1♠-2♣-2♥!,
opener's 3♣ could be a minimum with 2254 shape, while 3♦ would promise extra shape and strength.
When playing SAYC outside of OKb, opener should just rebid naturally, jumping to show extra values.

Jacoby 2NT (J2NT) ( ! ) *

If responder jumps to 2NT over a 1♥ /1♠ opener, it is J2NT asking opener to show a singleton or void. It
shows 13+Points, good support for opener's suit and is game forcing. Opener rebids as follows:

North South North Shows South

max hand, 18+Points and strong suit
but denies short suit
3♣/3♦/3♠ ! singleton or void in bid suit Either sign
1♥ 2NT! medium hand, 15-17 Points, denies off in game
3NT or look
short suit (artificial)
for slam
4♥ minimum hand and denies short suit
4♣/4♦/4♠ ! strong 5-card side suit

4th Suit Forcing (4sf) ( ! ) *

When responder is an unpassed hand and rebids the 4th suit in an uncontested auction, it is game
forcing and may be artificial.(eg. 1♦-P-1♥-P-1♠ -P-2♣ !-?). Responder is using the 4th suit to indicate a
good hand with 11+ points and no attractive rebid. Opener should respond with a natural bid that further
describes his hand. Taking the above bidding sequence as an example, opener should rebid as follows:

Opener's Rebid Shows

2♦ Rebid own suit with weak hand (NF); semi-artificial, does not promise extra length

2♥ Prefer reponder's 1st suit with 3+ trumps and a minimum (NF), jump with 15+ (GF)
2♠ Rebid second suit showing 6-5 and good hand (forcing)
Bid NT to show stop in 4th suit and a extra values, jump with exceptional strength
2NT (19+?)
3♣ Raise 4th suit with 4+ and extra strength
Rebid of opening suit showing extra length and strength.
3♦ (Jump rebid would show extra values)

4SF does not apply in the following situations:

1. In an "up the line " bidding sequence, e.g., 1 ♣-1♦-1♥ -1♠. This is peculiar to OKb and not so in
the original ACBL SAYC booklet. When not playing on OKb, it is forcing and could be 4+
spades with 6+ points or it could be 10+ without spades.
2. When responder's rebid is a jump bid in the 4th suit, e.g., 1 ♥-1♠ -2♣-3♦. The jump rebid of the
4th suit is undefined. We recommend it show invitational values and at least 5/5 in the bid suits,
so that a bid and rebid of the 4th suit would be natural and game fo rcing. Since 1♠ is treated as
always natural (on OKb), it is sensible to play responder's jump to 2♠ (after 1♣-1♦-1♥ , opps
silent) as 4SF, eg., xx- AQx-AKxx-xxx. Opener's 4th suit bids are natural.
3. In competition, do not count the opponent's suit as one of the first three, e.g., 1♣-(P)-1♥-(1♠)-
P-(P)-2♦: responder's 2♦ bid is forcing (new suit), but natural. Experts commonly use the cue -
bid of the oponents suit as a general forcing bid (2♠ in this case) such as with a balanced hand
lacking a stopper in spades

Strong 2♣ Opener
In general a 2♣ opener shows 22+ points, and is forcing for one round. If opener rebids 2NT after 2♦
response, showing 23-24HCP and a balanced hand, the same responses may be used as over a 2NT
opener There are exceptions to the number of HCP needed for a 2♣ Opener. The following are
guidelines only:

• 23HCP min if hand is balanced

• 17HCP min if 1-suited hand within one trick of game (9 playing tricks) or 3 loser hand
• 21 Points if hand has 8 playing tricks
North South Shows
artificial negative, (usually less than 7HCP) (may be
2♦ "waiting" with a good hand unsuited to a positive response)
2♣ 8+HCP (or 1.5 honour tricks) + 5-card suit headed by Q or better
2NT 8+HCP, balanced hand

Slam Bidding
Blackwood Convention
Blackwood 4NT is used to ask for Aces. Responses to 4NT show the number of Aces by steps. A 5NT
bid that follows Blackwood 4NT asks for Kings.

Blackwood asking for Aces Blackwood asking for Kings

North South Shows North South Shows
5♣ 0 or 4 Aces 6♣ 0 or 4 Kings
5♦ 1 Ace 6♦ 1 King
5♥ 2 Aces 6♥ 2 Kings
5♠ 3 Aces 6♠ 3 Kings

Note: If the Blackwood bidder wishes to sign off in 5NT, he should bid an "unplayable" suit at the 5
level (ie. an unbid suit or opp's suit) and the responder is obliged to bid 5NT eg. 1♥ -2♦-3♦-4 N T-5♣-
5♠(unbid suit) -5NT. {See also Part 2 Roman Key Card Blackwood}

Quantitative 4NT
A direct raise after 1NT/2NT to 4NT is Quantitative and invites 6NT if opener is maximum or pass if
m inimum. Also applies over partner's direct overcall of 1NT if no interference from RHO. (Over an
opener of 3NT, 4NT is Blackwood).

"Double with 0 Aces, Pass with 1 ". Allows response to Blackwood over opponent's interference .

The Calls Are:

Double 0 Aces
Pass 1 Ace
Next available bid 2 Aces
2nd available bid 3 Aces
3rd available bid 4 Aces

Note: ROPI = Redouble with 0, pass with 1

Control-Showing Cuebids

A control-showing bid may be used to find 1st and 2nd round controls once the trump suit has been
agreed. The control-showing bid is a non-jump bid at or above the 3 -level (if agreed trump suit is a
major ) or the 4-level (if trump suit is a minor) in an unbid suit.
Rules for control-showing bids:
1. With two controls , it is usually better to first bid the one that keeps the bidding lower. In some
cases it is better to reverse the order, i.e., 4♣-4♥-4♠ rather than 3♠-4♥-5♣.
2. Bid suits first that have not been bid by your partnership. Bid Aces 1st, Voids 2nd, Kings 3rd.
An exception is to bid a 2nd round control in an unbid suit before-cueing 1st round control in a
suit that has been shown or denied. Avoid bidding a singleton or void in a suit bid naturally by
your partner.
3. Return to the agreed trump suit below game to discourage a slam try. If partner bids above
game you must return the bid if possible.
4. If a control -showing bid is doubled, redouble shows 2nd roundcontrol of that suit. A pass
encourages partner (versus a return to agreed trump suit to discourage).
5. Control-s howing bids above five of the trump suit are a try for seven.
6. If either partner is able to judge the correct final contract he should bid it as soon as possible.

7. The partnership is committed to playing in the agreed trump suit once a control-showing bid
is made.

Gerber *

Gerber is used to ask for Aces and Kings over an opening 1NT or 2NT bid by partner or a rebid of 1NT
or 2NT by partner. 4 ♣ asks for Aces and 5♣ for Kings. (Over an opening bid of 3NT, 4♣ is Stayman).

Responses to Gerber are:

4♦ 0 or 4 5♦ 0 or 4
4♣ 4♥ 1 5♣ 5♥ 1
asking fo r Aces 4♠ 2 asking for Kings 5♠ 2
4NT 3 5NT 3

Note: If the Gerber initiator makes any call other than 5♣, it is to play (including 4NT)

Grand Slam Force (GSF) (also known as Josephine) *

A bid of 5NT without the preceding 4NT Blackwood bid is a GSF and asks partner to bid 7 of the
agreed trump suit if he has 2 of the 3 top trump honours (ie.A,K,Q)

• Bid 6 if you have less than 2

• Bid 7 if you have 2

{See also Part 2 Voluntary Bid of 5 of a Major }

Defensive Bidding

Defensive Overcalls after an Opening of 1 of a Suit

with 8-16 Points
at 1 level (a) bid good 5 -card suit. Suit quality depends on HCP
(b) bid a very strong 4-card suit if max HCP
at 2 level with 8-16 Points and a substantial suit or excellent distribution
1NT 15-18HCP with stop in opener's suit. (Jxfers are "off" Stayman is "on")
Double Opening hand possible shortage in opener's suit
8+Points. Michaels Cuebid asking for takeout in majors
(minor )
Cuebid! 10+Points. Michaels Cuebid showing 2-suited hand
(major) (Other major + unidentified minor suit –responder bids 2NT to locate minor)
Jump in a suit Pre-emptive : same values as opening pre-empts
Unusual NT showing 8+Points and at least
2NT 5/5 in the lower 2 unbid suits

Responses to 1 Level Overcalls

Raise 6-11 Points and 3+ trumps
Jump Raise 10-12 Points and 4+ trumps
(a) Weak distributional hand with v good trump support
Raise to Game
(b) Strong HCP and adequate trump support, no slam interest
New Suit 9-13 Points, usually denies fit in partner's suit (non-forcing)
Jump Shift 12-14 Points with good 6-carder
1NT 9-12HCP, balanced hand. Implies stops in the unbid suits.

Guarantees stop in opp's suit

11-13HCP, balanced. Implies stops in the unbid suits.
2NT (non-jump)
Guarantees stop in opp's suit
13-15HCP, balanced. Implies stops in unbid suits.
2NT (jump)
Guarantees stop in opp's suit
15-16HCP, balanced. Implies stops in unbid suits.
Guarantees stop in opp's suit
Cuebid Asks pard about strength of his overcall (forcing 1 rnd, invitational).
opp's suit O/caller can (a) Bid 2 of own suit = minimum overcall
(b) Any other bid = 11+Points

Note: Responses to 2-level overcall may be made with a weaker hand, since overcaller has indicated a
stronger hand.

Pre -empt Bids

Pre-empt bids are weak 2 (except 2♣)/3 bids show ing a 6/7-card suit of reasonable quality and 5 -11
Points. If the hand also has a 4 -card major then pre-empt bids should not be used. Pre-empting is
intended to keep the opposition out of the bidding, not one's partner. It is better to wait until your partner
has passed before pre-empting.

Note: A 4♥ or 4♠ opener is pre-emptive but stronger than an opening 2 or 3 bid and should have good
distributional values. A double over an opening 4♥ /4♠ bid is for takeout but can be passed if you think
penalty would be more profitable. 5♣/5♦ openers are also pre-emptive, but a double over such a bid is
penalty oriented.

Responses to Opening Pre-empt Bids

Over an opening 3 bid, partner should pass unless he has 15+ points. Over an opening weak 2 bid:
1. 2NT response is forcing and shows game interest (even if the opps intervene). Opener should
show a "feature": ie. a suit with Ace or King. With no feature, rebid suit (if v weak) or raise to
3NT. {See also Part 2 Ogust}
2. 3NT is to play.
3. A raise in opener's suit is invitational but not forcing. (See R-O-N-F below)
4. A new suit response (5+carder) is forcing for one round. Opener can bid a 4-card minor
(headed at least by Q) or bid NT showing 8-11 Points, support partner's suit (if 3 of them or
dblton with honour), rebid own suit (showing minimum 5 -8 Points)

Raise Only Non-Forcing (R -O-N-F)

A method of responding to weak 2 openers which utilises both 2NT and a new suit as forcing
responses. Hence, the raise of partner's suit is the only non-forcing response below game.

Unusual NT ( ! ) *
1. A jump overcall of 2NT over a 1 of a suit opener is Unusual NT and shows at least 5/5 or better
in the lower 2 unbid suits. It is normally used defensively with a weak hand (8-10 Points in the 2
2. After a strong 2♣ opener, an overcall of 2NT may be used in the same manner but should have
16-19 Points
3. A jump overcall of 2NT followed by a raise of partner's suit, or a cuebid indicating control in
opp's suit, shows a strong hand (16-18 Points)
4. After opp opener of 1NT, 2NT is also Unusual NT showing both minors

Responses to Unusual 2NT are:

1. Preference bid
2. Jump preference bid (mostly pre-emptive)
3. Cuebid for game or slam invitation

4. Bid another suit (non -forcing)

5. Bid 3NT with stops in the other 2 suits and enough entries for the long suits
6. Bid 4NT which would be Blackwood
Note 1: Except 3NT, any other NT bid after both opponents have bid and partner has passed can also
be considered as Unusual NT
Note 2: If opps have bid and your side hasn't then 4NT is also Unusual NT, also over a 4♥ /♠ preempt

Michaels Cuebid ( ! )

* The Michaels Cuebid promises a 2-suited hand.

West North Shows
1♣ 2♣! 8+Points showing both majors
1♦ 2♦! 8+Points showing both majors
1♥ 2♥! 10+Points showing spades and an undisclosed minor
1♠ 2♠! 10+Points showing hearts and an undisclosed minor
Note 1: A response of 2NT over the major suit cuebid asks partner to bid his minor

Note 2: In a competitive auction, if 2NT is unavailable, responder can bid 4♣ (non-forcing) or 4NT
(forcing) to locate the minor . 3NT is always to play.

Note 3: The strength of the Michaels Cuebid follows the same guidelines as used for Unusual NT
overcall. It is "shape" rather than HCP that counts and both are defensive bids.

Note 4: Michaels Cuebid typically shows at least 5/5 shape, but over a minor-suit opening, just 5/4
shape in the majors is permissible so long as the 4-carder is reasonably good.

Note 5: Novice players may choose to use the Michaels Cuebid overcall for the majors only
("higher-suits cuebid"). ie. When opps have bid 1 of a minor, a cuebid of the minor shows at
least 5/5 in the majors

West North Shows
1♣ 2♣! 8+Points and 5/5+ in the majors
1♦ 2♦! 8+Points and 5/5+ in the majors

Balancing Seat Bids

You are in the balancing seat after a bid (usually an opening bid) followed by 2 passes: you may double
for takeout or overcall with a weaker hand than you would in the direct seat. Partner should recognise
this and adjust his responses accordingly.
Note: After 2 passes, as the third (4th by agreement only) seat you may open 1 of a suit with a weaker
hand than normal - again, partner should recognise this and adjust his responses accordingly: your
rebid will tell him your strength. {see also Part 2 Drury and Reverse Drury}
Balancing Calls
after Opener Followed by 2 Passes
West North East South Shows
can be weaker than in direct seat
1♥ Pass Pass 1♠
with 5-card suit or good 4-carder
1♥ Pass Pass 1NT 10-15 Points + heart stop
1♥ Pass Pass 2♠ at least 13 Points and good 6-card suit
1♥ Pass Pass X 12+Points support for the unbid suits

1♥ Pass Pass X 19+Points with stop in hearts

Pass 1♠ Pass 2NT and balanced hand
Unusual NT! or 15-18HCP with good heart stop,
1♥ Pass Pass 2NT(!) balanced if NOT playing Unusual NT
strong hand with 2 good suits,
1♥ Pass Pass 2♥ void in hearts (or A♥ singleton)
1♥ Pass Pass 3NT to play
1♥ Pass Pass X
Blackwood asking for Aces
Pass 1♠ Pass 4NT

West North East South Shows
1♥ Pass 2♥ Pass this is also a balancing seat situation for
Pass ? --- --- North, since opps have limited their hands

Competitive Auction

Since there are almost endless possible sequences, it pays to have simple guidelines to prevent
bidding misunderstandings. Bids have the same meaning as they would have without the interference
bid. ie.they do not guarantee extra HCP: however, there are one or two extra bidding options now open
to both opener and responder:
Example A
North East South West Shows
as South the 3 ♣ cuebid is game forcing
1♠ 2♣ 3♣ Pass
and usually indicates support for pard's suit
1♠ 2♣ X! Pass Negative Double

Example B
North East South West Shows
as North with a holding of, say,
♥ Axxx
1♦ Pass 1♠ 2♣ ♦AQJx
2♠ -?- -?- -? - ♣Jx
and no interference, your correct bid is 1NT,
but, since West bid 2♣ and you do not have a
♣ stop you must bid your 2nd choice of 2 ♠

Responses (by an unpassed hand) after Opp's Overcall of 1 of a Suit

Call Shows
X! Negative Double, 6 + Points
Raise 6-10 Points + 3x major- or 4x minor -trump support
Jump Raise 10-12 Points with 4 trumps (invitational)
New Suit at 1-level 8+Points and 4+-card suit (unlimited forcing 1 rnd)
1NT 8-11HCP balanced with stop in opp's suit (NF)
2over1 9+Points, 5 -card suit (forcing for 1 rnd)
2NT 12-15HCP, balanced with stop in opp's suit (invitational)
17-19 Points with support for pard's suit or 5-card suit
Jump Shift
(forcing to game)
17+Points, support for pards suit + 1st or 2nd rnd
control in opp's suit. (forcing to game, slam invitation)

Responses (by an unpassed hand)

after Opps' Overcall of 1NT

Call Shows
Double 9+Points and can be penalty oriented
Raise 5-8 Points with 3+ trump support
New Suit 5-8 Points with good 5 -card suit
Pass no support for pard and no good suit

Responses after Opp's Takeout Double

North East South Shows

1♥ /1♠ unlimited (forcing 1 rnd)
1NT 6-8HCP denies 4 diamonds , balanced (NF)
2♣ 6-10 Points + 6 -carder or v good 5-carder (NF)
2NT 4+ trumps, 10+HCP, limit raise (NF)
promises 10+Points, without support(NF)
1♦ X Note:it is better to make a more descriptive bid of
1♥, 1♠ ,or 2NT, unless you are preparing the way
to penalty X opps
2♥/2♠/3♣ 6/7-card suit, pre-emptive (NF)
less than 10 Points + good trump support
(pre-emptive) (NF)

Calls over Opponent's Pre -empt

1. Double for takeout {See also Part 2 Lebensohl}

2. Overcalling a suit or NT is natural and non -forcing
3. Cuebid (minor )! is Michaels Cuebid
4. Cuebid (major) Strong showing good stop, single or void in opp's suit - asks partner for his best
suit (game forcing+)

Takeout Doubles (t/oX)

The double of an opening suit bid at the 1 or 2 level or over a pre-empt bid is a takeout double.
Minimum requirements vary, depending on distribution and the level of bidding at which partner must
1. A hand that has at least 3 cards in all the unbid suits may make a t/oX with 13+Points
2. A hand that has at least 4 cards in all the unbid suits may make a t/oX with 11+Points
3. If the doubler has previously passed, a t/oX promises 9 -11 Points and 4 cards in the unbid suits
4. With 17+Points you can use the t/oX with 1 or more very good suits (or NT stops in all the
suits). The t/oX is followed by a suit bid to indicate a strong hand.
5. A jump bid after th e t/oX is forcing.
6. A 4NT bid after the t/oX is Blackwood
Responses to Partner's t/oX if RHO Passes
Call Shows
Minimum bid 0-9 Points
1NT 6-10HCP balanced with stop in opp's suit
Jump bid (below game) 10-12 Points (invitatio nal)
2NT 10-12HCP with stop in opp's suit and no 4 -card major
Cuebid 13+Points or 10-12 Points with 2x4 -card majors (forcing)
3NT 13-16HCP
Double Jump Less than 10 Points with 6-carder (pre -emptive)
Pass At least 5 of opp's suit. Guarantees 3 trump tricks

Rebids by Takeout Doubler after Minimum Response

Call Shows
Pass 15 Points or less
16-18 Points + 4-card trump support18-20 Points if raise is at
Raise 3 level in non-competitive auction
Jump Raise 18-20 Points + 4-card trump support
18-20 Points, 5+-card suit. Fewer Points if you also have a 4 -
New Suit card unbid major
Jump Shift 6+card self-sufficient suit and strong hand (NF)
1NT 18-20HCP
2NT 19-21HCP if non-jump or 21-22HCP if jump
3NT 9 playing tricks
Cuebid of opp's suit 21+Points, slam interest

Negative Doubles ( ! )
A double at the 1 or 2 level after partner has opened and RHO has overcalled, is a Negative Double
and is used to indicate a biddable hand promising the other 2 suits, but leaves bidding room for partner.
Note: Bidding a major at the 2 level or higher shows 11+Points and a 5+-card suit.

Use of Negative Doubles

North East South Shows
6+HCP and 4(+)♠ and 4(+)♣ (bid of 1♠ is
natural up the line – at least 4). Note: if pd’s
1♦ 1♥ X!
next bid has to be at the 2+ level then 9+p oints,
eg., 1♠-(2♦)-X!
1♦ 1♠ X! 6+Points and 4(+)♥ and 4(+)♣
1♣ 1♦ X! 6+Points and 4/4(+) in the majors
1♥ 1♠ X! 4/4+ in the minors

Note 1: A direct double over opponent's opening of 1NT is usually penalty oriented.
Note 2: Negative Doubles are on through 2♠ unless the partnership agree otherwise

Responses to Negative Doubles

Call Shows
Minimum (below game) upto 16HCP (non-forcing)
Jump 16-18 Points (non-forcing)
Cuebid of opps suit 19+Points (forcing to game)
Pass (rare) for penalty

Note 1: All rebids by the Neg Xer below game are non-forcing, except a cuebid of opps suit.
Note 2: Using Neg Xes means that partner is unable to double for penalty. Therefore, when an opp's
suit overcall is followed by 2 passes, opener should try to re-open with a double, if he has 2 or less
cards in the opp's suit, since partner may have passed with a good hand for penalties.

Penalty Doubles
If your agreement is to play Negative Xes to 2♠ then a penalty oriented double would be:
1. X of a 3+ level bid (except over opp’s preemptive opener – see takeout doubles above)
2. Direct X of a NT bid
3. Direct X of opp's overcall of 1NT
4. X after partner has accurately described both his strength and distribution
5. X after either partner has made an earlier redouble
6. X after either partner has made a penalty X earlier or passed a takeout double

7. X of any artificial bid (eg. Stayman, Cuebid, Blackwood) or responses. This is also lead
8. X of an opening game bid in the minors
Note 1: Be wary of doubling for penalty on the strength of partner's overcall
Note 2: Unless noted elsewhere, any bid or double by the opponents cancels any convention intended
for non-competitive auctions
Note 3: If the opponents use a convention (such as Michaels or the Unusual NT), you can double the
artificial bid to show at least 10HCP or cuebid one of the opps' shown suits to force to game
N ote 4: A forcing pass is used when opps are clearly competitively bidding for pre-emptive reasons and
you are unsure if you should double or bid higher (usually further than game). A pass forces partner to
either double or bid.

A redouble can have 5 different meanings:
No. North East South West Shows
1. 4♠ (or higher) X XX Pass Penalty to play
1NT Pass 2♦! X
2. Penalty - good diamond suit
XX Pass Pass Pass
3. 1♠ X XX Pass 10+HCP - to play
1♦ Pass Pass X SOS - Responder cannot stand the X but
Pass Pass XX -?- can support at least 2 of the unbid suits
1♣ X Pass- Pass SOS - Opener does not relish playing in 1♣X and is asking
XX Pass ?- -?- pard to bid his best suit (rescue)

Note: SOS redoubles are recognisable if you remember tha t there would be no point in redoubling a
cheap contract since it would force the Opps to enter the bidding.

Defensive Leads and Signals

Defensive signals when following suit or discarding are High Encourages, Low Discourages. Leads are
Top of Touching Honours. {See also Part 2 Lavinthal Discards and Odd/Even (Roman) Discards }
OKbridge SA-YC Default Carding
Carding High discard encourages, Low discourages: infrequent count signals
Suit-leads 4th best, Kqx, Qjx, J tx, T9x, kJ tx, kT9x, qT9x, xxX, xxxX , xxxXx, a Kx
4th best, aKjx, aQjx, aJt9, aT98, Kqjx, kQt9, kJt9, kT98, Qjtx, qT98,
N T-leads
Jt9x, T98x, xxX , xxxX, xxxXx
Pairs may choose to change these options and mark their leads with a "circle". Where no card is
marked with a "circle", those marked in "bold italics" will be presumed to be the agreement. Some
choices to consider are:
1. Which card is led from AKx. Ace for attitude and King for count?
2. Which card is led from AK. Does the reverse sequence indicate AK doubleton?
3. Which card is led from xxx, xxxx, xxxxx
4. Whether 3rd and/or 5th best leads are used
5. Whether 3rd best is led from KJ10x, K109x, or Q109x (or from AJ10x or A109x vs. NT)
6. Whether or not infrequent count signals are given

Note 1: Normally do not lead unsupported honours from a suit not bid by partner

Note 2: It is Declarer's responsibility to look at opponents' carding agreements.

OKbridge Example SAYC CC

Omitting Jxfer to Minors, J2NT, Michaels, Unusual NT, Gerber, GSF, DOPI, 4SF
System Standard American Yellow Card
NT 1N=15-17: 2N=20-21: 3N=25 -27: JXF to Mjors: 3C/3D= invitational
Majors 5cm: Direct Raise = limit (pre-empt over X)
Minors 1D shows 4/4432: DR=limit: 1N/1m:6-10: 2N/1m:13-15: 3N/1m:16 -17
Strong 2C shows 22+ balanced or 9+ tricks, 2D response artificial, may be waiting
Weak 2D, 2H, 2S shows 5-11 hcp, good 6 cards, RONF, 2N reqs feature
Overcalls 8-16 HCP: cue is 1 Rnd force: jump overcall is pre-emptive
NT-Over 1N=15-18, 2C= Stayman, other systems off
Doubles Negative -> 2S
VS.Doubles New Suit Force 1 -level: 2N = Limit raise or better
Preempts May be light
Vs.Preempts Dbl is takeout at 2 and 3 level, 2N/weak 2 = 16 -19 HCP Bal
Cuebids Natural
Slam -Bids Blackwood
4th best, Kqx, Qjx, Jtx, T9x, kJtx, kT9x, qT9x,
Suit-leads xxX, xxxX, xxxXx, aK x
4th best, aKjx, a Qjx, aJt9, aT98, Kqjx, kQt9, kJt9, kT98,
NT-leads Qjtx, qT98, Jt9x, T98x, xxX , xxxX, xxxXx
Carding High discard encourages, low discourages: infreq count signals
Misc (insert any non-standard SAYC conventions agreed upon)

1. To include Jxfer to minors add to "NT", "2S forces to 3C/D"

2. To include J2NT add to "Majors", "J2NT"
3. To include Unusual NT add to "NT-Over", "UNU NT for lower 2 unbids"
4. To include Michaels add to "Cuebids", "Michaels, Natural if opps have bid 2 suits"
5. To include Gerber and Grand Slam Force add to "Slam -Bids", "Gerber over NT, GSF"
6. To include DOPI /ROPI add to either "Slam -Bids" or "Misc", "dopi" “ropi”
7. To include 4th suit forcing add to "Misc", "4sf"
ACBL SAYC CC (as at May 1999)

SPECIAL DOUBLES NOTRUMP OVERCALLS NAMES_________________________________________________________#______

Negative :thru______thru 4♠ _____ Direct: _____to_____Systems on
Responsive : thru____Maximal ____ Conv. ______________________ GENERAL APPROACH
Support: dbl thru______ Redouble Balancing: ______to______ ___________________________________________________________

Card-showing : Min.Offshape T/O __ Jump to 2NT: Minors 2 Lowest TWO OVER ONE: Game Forcing GF.Except when Suit Rebid
_________________________________ Conv. _______________________ VERY LIGHT: Opening 3rd hand Overcalls Preempts
DEFENCE VS NOTRUMP FORCING OPENING 1♣ 2♣ Natural 2 Bids Other ______
vs: ____________ ____________
SIMPLE OVERCALL 2♣ ____________ ____________
1 level______ to _____HCP (usually) 2♦ ____________ ____________
often 4 cards very light style 2 ♥____________ ____________
Responses: 2 ♠____________ ____________ NOTRUMP OPENING BIDS
Dbl: ___________ ____________
New Suit Forcing NFConst NF 1NT
Other: _______________________ 2NT _____ to _______
Jump Raise Forcing Inv. Weak ______________________________ _______to______ 3♣ ______________
_________________________________ ______________________________ _______to______ 3♦ ______________ Puppet Stayman
Transfer Responses:
5-card Major common 3 ♥______________
System on over ________ 3 ♠______________
New Suit Forcing: 1level 2level 3♠________________
2♣ Stayman Puppet _________________
Strong Intermediate Weak
Jump Shift: Forcing Inv. Weak 2♦ Transfer to ♥ 4♦ , 4♥ Transfer 3NT ______ to ______
Redouble Implies no fit Forcing Stayman Smolen
OPENING PREEMPTS 2NT OVER Limit+ Limit Weak 2♥ Transfer to ♠ Lebensohl (______denies) Conventional NT Openings
Sound Light Very Light
Majors 2♠_________________ Neg.Double ___________ ______________________
3/4-bids 2NT ________________ Other: __________________ _______________________
Conv./Resp.________________________ Minors
Other: ________________________ MAJOR OPENINGS MINOR OPENINGS
__________________________________ Expected Min.Length 4 5 Expected Min.Length 4 3 2 Other
DIRECT CUEBID Vs.Opening Preempts Double is: 1st/2nd 1♣
OVER: Minor Major Artif. Bid Takeout thru ______ Penalty 3rd/4th 1♦
Natural Conv.Takeout _________________ RESPONSES RESPONSES
O Strong T/O Lebensohl 2NT Response Double Raise: Force Inv. Weak Double Raise: Force Inv. Weak
Michaels Other ________________________ After Overcall: Force Inv. Weak After Overcall: Force Inv. Weak
_________________________________ ______________________________
Conv.Raise: 2NT 3NT Splinter Forcing Raise: J/S in other Minor
Other _____________________________ Single Raise Other _____________
SLAM CONVENTIONS Gerber : 4NT: Blackwood RKC 1430 3014
____________________________________________________________________ 1NT: Forcing ✟ Semi- Forcing Frequently bypass 4+♦
____________________________________________________________________ 2NT: Forcing Inv. _____ to _____ 1NT/1♣ ________ to ________
vs.Interference : DOPI DEPO Level: _______________ ROPI 3NT: ______ to ______ 2NT Forcing Inv. _____to_____
LEADS (Circle card led if not in Bold) DEFENSIVE CARDING Drury Reverse 2-Way Fit 3NT: _______ to _______
versuss. Suits versus NoTrump vs SUITS vs NT Other: ____________________________ Other: ___________________________
xx xxxx xx xxxx Standard: DESCRIBE RESPONSES/REBIDS
xxx xxxxx xxx xxxxx
AKx T9x
2♣ ______to______HCP ________________________________________

QJx KT9x KQJx KQT9 ______________________________ Strong Other

JT9 QT9x QJTx QT9x Upside-Down: 2♦ Resp: Neg. Waiting
KQT JT9x T9xx count
2♦ ______to______HCP ________________________________________
4th Best vs SUITS vs NT
___________________ Strong Other
3rd/5th Best vs SUITS va NT FIRST DISCARD
Attitude vs. NT Lavinthal 2♥ ______to______HCP ________________________________________
Odd/Even Strong Other

Primary Signal to Partner's Leads

OTHER CARDING 2♠ ______to______HCP ________________________________________
Smith Echo Strong Other
Attidude Count Suit Preference
Foster Echo
New Minor Forcing ________________ 2-Way NMF ____________________
Negative :thru______thru 4♠ _____ Direct: _____to_____Systems on
Responsive : thru____Maximal ____ Conv. ______________________ GENERAL APPROACH
Support: dbl thru______ Redouble Balancing: ______to______ ___________________________________________________________
Jump to 2NT: Minors 2 Lowest TWO OVER ONE: Game Forcing GF.Except when Suit Rebid
Card-showing : Min.Offshape T/O __
_________________________________ Conv. _______________________ VERY LIGHT: Opening 3rd hand Overcalls Preempts
FORCING OPENING 1♣ 2♣ Natural 2 Bids Other ______
Weak Jump Shifts ________________ 4th Suit Forcing: 1 Round Game
SPECIAL CARDING PLEASE ASK ______________________________________________________________________

Document Designed by
Anna Marsh (a.k.a. ana on OKbridge)
July, 2000 (updated 2 1st July, 2002)
Any Queries, suggestions, etc., email
All Rights Reserved © Anna Marsh 2000 -2002